Being a Journal of Record


A few weeks ago, our executive board was talking about the O.J. Simpson trial. Believe it or not, this was not the first time we’d discussed O.J. in the Ram office, but this conversation posed a question we’d never thought of before: What did The Fordham Ram say about the O.J. Simpson trial? Was there a long-forgotten, spicy editorial that took a stance on whether or not he was guilty?

We dove into the Ram’s archives to find out. And we were dismayed to find that the week of the trial’s verdict, our Volume 77 counterparts wrote an editorial on the updated core curriculum.

At times during Volume 103, we thought that we were commenting on the COVID-19 pandemic too much. We worried that we were being repetitive, that we were beating a dead horse, that we were declaring our stance in the face of a void. However, looking back at the lack of O.J. Simpson coverage, we realize that we were right to speak out on these subjects. In fact, we have a duty to do so.

We are Fordham University’s journal of record. We are the archive of students’ thoughts and feelings. If that means we devoted a disproportionate amount of coverage to the COVID-19 pandemic, then so be it; it’s played a disproportionate role in our lives for the past year and a half. As the Volume 103 executive board leaves the Ram, we want to leave behind a meaningful record of the issues that plagued us in 2021.

We hope we have created a well-kept record of the COVID-19 era at Fordham for future readers to find. However, we did not restrict our coverage to the pandemic alone. As much as it’s dominated our lives, we are multifaceted and resilient human beings. News, culture, opinion and sports never stop, and our writers and editors never did either.

In the future, people may wonder what Fordham students were thinking and writing about while dealing with the pandemic: what we did, what we watched, what we cared about, what we cheered for. We think we can shed some light on those subjects alongside our coverage of the pandemic.

The news section kept us informed through a big news year at Fordham. We published the breaking news when Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of the university, decided to step down from his position. More recently, we interviewed McShane to get an inside scoop on his time at Fordham and his upcoming departure. In a feature article, we profiled a Fordham sophomore who ran the New York City Marathon.

Our culture section followed cultural happenings at Fordham and beyond its gates. We covered an alumnus as he debuted his first fashion collection. We interviewed performers from the Satin Dolls and the Ramblers before they opened for the Rockettes’ Christmas Spectacular. In terms of pop culture, our mental health column put a self-care spin on the TikTok pug Noodle and his bones (or lack thereof).

This year has provided us with ample issues to take sides on. Writers for the opinion section spoke their truth: Fordham has an obligation to act against climate change as a Jesuit university, police traffic stops are steeped in racial bias and Starbucks is slowly killing us with its sugary beverages.

After months of canceled games and shortened seasons, our sports section returned to regular sports coverage. We covered the women’s basketball team’s petition to play after COVID-19 cases forced campus into a pause. Our sports editor profiled Fordham swimmer and musical artist Dillane Wehbe when he released his debut EP last spring. Finally, a student-athlete offered a unique perspective of a Fordham Women’s Basketball game that she filmed with a camera.

We are so proud of everyone who’s made this newspaper so special: our writers, editors, producers, photographers and readers. Further, we want to recognize the Volume 103 staff’s determination in producing a newspaper no matter what. 2021 was a tough, transitional year for all of us, and Volume 103 definitely hit some bumps in the road. We published our first issue — an eight-page “baby paper” — in February. Soon after, rising COVID-19 cases made it impossible for us to meet in person to produce a newspaper. We published solely online for six issues, then closed the spring semester with another handful of “baby papers.”

This fall, we salvaged our flood-damaged office just in time to produce a 24-page print issue. We are overjoyed to end this semester the way we began it: with a Ram office full of editors, pizza, laughter and passion for the newspaper we create together.